The space station, a cooperative venture between NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA that cost more than £150 billion to build and launch in 1998, is now used by astronauts as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory. Various experiments are conducted by the space agencies both within the satellite and occasionally outside during spacewalks. But in 2005, while on his final space mission, former NASA astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao encountered a strange event that left him perplexed and shocked.
Dr. Chiao left NASA in December 2005 after working there for fifteen years. He participated in four space missions, most recently headed up Expedition 10 onboard the International Space Station as Commander and NASA Science Officer. Over 36 hours of his 229 days in space were spent performing an extra-vehicular activity (EVA, or spacewalks).
In a NASA’s Unexplained Files episode on the Science Channel, Dr. Chiao described having to perform a spacewalk in order to complete one of the experiments being carried out onboard the International Space Station. He served as the International Space Station’s commander for six and a half months. During a spacewalk with cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov, the two were installing navigation antennas. They were 230 miles above Earth, traveling at over 17,000 miles per hour when something unusual caught Chiao’s eye.
Dr. Chiao recalled, “It’s clearly not a natural phenomenon. I saw some lights that seemed to be in a line and it was almost like an upside-down check mark, and I saw them fly by and thought it was awfully strange.” Unfortunately, Sharipov was facing the other way and did not notice the lights.
He explained: “You’re very aware, hyper-aware when you’re doing a spacewalk as you are in a pretty dangerous situation.” “It’s exciting on many levels and also stressful too because you don’t want to mess up your last one.” “But if that tether becomes undone, you are just going to float away from the station and it’s pretty much curtains (closed).” “Suddenly, I look up and I see these five lights and they seem to fly by.”
“There were four in a line and my heart just leapt up into my throat and they just flew by the station.” “But one of them is slightly off-set from the others,” said aerospace historian Chris Orwoll. Further, it was revealed that Dr. Chiao then called Mission Control, where former NASA engineer James Oberg was observing.
In his explanation of the conversation, Mr. Oberg said: “He reported that he’s just spotted five lights.” “When you see something in space, the possibility always that it can bite you. Your life might be on the line,” recalled Oberg. The “Unexplained Files” continued to explain how the mystery remained unresolved for a long time before another NASA employee made a significant discovery.
A former NASA engineer James Smith became curious about the occurrence. He dug up satellite photos from the vicinity of Chiao’s encounter. The pictures confirmed Chiao’s account, but what did he see? Smith looked through satellite path records and even military Air Force drills, but he found nothing. He also checked the ground-based activities because in the waters of South America, commercial fishing fleets use huge arrays of lights to fish at night.
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Dr. Chiao said that while he had accepted Smith’s theory, he was still curious about what else might be lurking in space. “I have no doubt there is other life in the universe, but I don’t think we’ve found each other yet.” “If there is life out there, that’s so much more advanced than we are and they know either how to travel great distances in short amounts of time, or they’re able to come from a parallel universe into ours, why don’t they just come and show themselves?” Chiao told The Huffington Post.
Later in 2016, Dr. Chiao wrote on Space.com that he believes there is life somewhere out there after the discovery of an “Alpha Centauri Cb” exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri. He continued: “It is ‘arrogant’ to say we are alone in the void.”
I believe that there is life all over our universe, since it would be the height of arrogance to think that we are alone. Moreover, I believe that at some point, life on Earth will die out, either from natural causes, or from our own doing. To me, this is a natural progression, just like individual lives on our planet. Unlike many people, including several of my astronaut colleagues, I don’t think that technology will save us. Indeed, there are strong arguments that after enabling life to thrive, technology is now hastening our collective demise. But that discussion is for another time.
I believe that life is always starting in some parts of the universe at the same time that it is dying out in others. We don’t know about each other, simply because the distances are so vast. To send a spacecraft even just to our next-door neighbor Proxima Centauri, using our current technology, would take almost 80,000 years. So, we won’t easily find evidence of alien life around another star, especially those that are hundreds of millions of light-years away, or more.
For me, the discovery of incontrovertible evidence of past or present life on Mars would prove my theory on alien life, without having to send probes to other star systems. The discovery of Proxima b raises renewed interest in this question. My hope is that we will find answers in my lifetime, by continuing to look even closer than “down the block.” Let’s continue to explore Mars, which is in our own “backyard!”
According to NASA, a newly created 16-member team would focus its investigation completely on declassified sightings and other data received from civilian government and commercial sectors. Astrophysicist Adam Frank says this study might not prove that aliens exist but it would bring remarkable progress being made in the scientific search for life on distant planets. Despite this, let us look into the testimonies of these brave astronauts who risked everything to bring their thoughts on the existence of UFOs and aliens.